Phoebe Walsh

Phoebe Walsh ’20

Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Ocean Food Systems

Thinking globally, acting locally

Growing up in Freeport, Maine, nature has always been a large part of Phoebe Walsh’s ’20 world. The formative experiences of her life have inspired her passion for environmental protection. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Phoebe worked to expand her horizons. Spending a semester in Tanzania, Phoebe worked on wildlife preservation and put her minor of anthropology to work collecting stories from the Maasai people, to highlight the importance of wildlife not only ecologically, but also culturally. The experience allowed her to further explore her interests in environmentalism while combining those interests with anthropology. Following graduation, she also spent time researching on Fogo Island. When she returned to Maine to take part in the Institute of North Atlantic Studies (UNE NORTH) Professional Science Master’s in Ocean Food Systems (PSM), it was with newfound purpose and equipped with lessons she learned from around the world.

Though Phoebe’s experiences have spanned the globe, she has never lost sight of home and working to help local communities continue to thrive.

“I was drawn to UNE NORTH’s PSM program because of how multidisciplinary it is. This program looks at ocean food systems through different perspectives; whether the perspective is science-based, ecology-based, economic, or discusses the social impacts. The whole idea of UNE NORTH’s PSM program is to think global and act local. I have had a lot of global experiences, whether in Tanzania or Malaysia, but my heart really is in Maine. It’s been wonderful to come back to Maine for this program. I'm hoping that throughout the program, I'll be able to meet people and develop connections that will allow me to work in Maine while keeping in mind those experiences that I've had abroad.”

UNE NORTH’s PSM program is enabling Phoebe to develop her knowledge further. Spending time in communities like Cobscook Bay, and countries like Iceland, she has been able to take in new perspectives that will enable her to make a real difference here at home. With the Gulf of Maine being one of the fastest-warming bodies of water on the planet, Phoebe’s background in environmental sciences will be invaluable. Her clear passion for the field of ocean food systems helped her to earn a Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation Fellowship. The fellowship is something Phoebe credits with making her time at UNE possible.

“Supporting this program is really going to help the marine sciences. It's a unique program, and I believe the results of this program will be amazing. Personally, without the Doherty Foundation and this fellowship, I wouldn't have been able to afford this opportunity. With the PSM program and the experience I’ll gain from it, I'll be able to really shape my future. I hope it will let me support and give back to a community that means so much to me.”

Many years ago, a serendipitous meeting during a four-day sea kayaking trip on Chesapeake Bay began a relationship that has yielded enormous dividends for the trajectory of marine science programs at UNE. Walter Brown, president of the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation, found himself paddling with outdoor enthusiast and former advancement officer Nicole Connelly, whose description of UNE’s unique coastal campus and marine facility intrigued him. As one of the nation’s leading funders for marine sciences and education, the Doherty Foundation invests in institutions capable of robust oceanographic activities. After a September visit to the Marine Science Center and subsequent proposal, Walter and his fellow board members gifted $1 million to endow the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Chair of Marine Sciences at UNE. It was a momentous event in the University’s history.

Fast forward ten years later. Dr. Barry Costa-Pierce, recruited to become UNE’s first Doherty Chair of Marine Sciences after an international search, has helped shape UNE’s marine science program into a world-class operation in collaboration with his esteemed faculty colleagues. Not surprisingly, the launch of UNE’s unique Professional Science Masters in Ocean Food Systems recently attracted the Doherty Foundation’s renewed investment in UNE’s growth. With a $400,000 gift, the foundation is funding substantial tuition and travel support to 12 Doherty Fellows enrolled in the program over the next three years, providing these promising young people unparalleled opportunities for study offered nowhere else around the globe. With deep gratitude, we thank the Henry L. And Grace Doherty Foundation for the dividends their giving has yielded for UNE, its students, and the marine world.

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